BaoFeng Radio Review
BaoFeng produces high quality yet inexpensive ham radios.
BaoFeng Radio Overview
BaoFeng produces an inexpensive ham radio that has the power and range of a higher priced radio.
High / Med / Low Power Settings (8W, 4W, 1W); Frequency Range: VHF: 136-174 MHz(Rx/Tx). UHF: 400-520 MHz(Rx/Tx); Broad (Wide) / Narrowband (Narrow) Selectable
Average Battery Life: UV-5R High (4W): 18 Hours; BF-F8HP High (8W): 20 Hours; BF-F8HP Mid (5W): 24 Hours.
Battery: 2000mAh, 7.4v, Li-ion
Frequency Range: 136-174MHz and 400-520MHz (TX/RX)
Antenna: High Gain Dual Band Antenna 7" Antenna
Mode of operation: Simple or semi-duplex
Transmitter Output power: 8W/5W / 1W (Max 8W)
Modulation Mode: 16k F3E / 11k F3E
BaoFeng Radio Pros
I've used it from the house and I'm able to hit a lot of local repeaters including some 15 miles away.
"The radio is user friendly, easily programmable and has the capability to communicate in bands needed by othesr outside the HAM radio community."
*" You do NOT need a license to own this radio, and listen in on any frequencies this radio can access.
* You DO need a ham license if you want to transmit with this radio. It can also be used unlicensed in an imminent emergency threatening life or property -- but you're better served being licensed, or at least getting intimately familiar with how it works, or it's useless to you in an emergency."
"We did a little experiment, she drove to town, about ten miles away, crossing the American river and several mountains in between, about 2000' below my elevation, came in so clear, just like she was in the room."
"The size is compact but not so small that my fingers hit the wrong buttons."
"The price is excellent. The antenna is well tuned. Sound quality is good. You can input frequencies manually and then save them to a channel for easy access later."
"The 8 watts of power paired with the newer Baofeng duck antennas offers noticeably increased range over the older UV-5R. Having all the same menus and compatibility with CHIRP programming software makes it a no-brainer upgrade from the 5 watt models."
BaoFeng Radio Cons
"The charger is very bulky and is not practical to travel with. I wish the device had a charging port and a travel charger as well. Or even ditch the default charging cradle and go with a more slim design."
"The biggest negative is programming directions. I struggled with the manual directions and finally searched online until I found simple step-by-step directions posted by another amateur radio operator who had purchased the same rig."
"I invite everyone to read the manual from start to finish when you pick up a new piece of kit. At least skim the unimportant information. Had I not read the manual, I would not have been able to intuit all the menus and settings."
"These are not the easiest to program, even with the Baofeng interface cord. But once that’s done we are good."
"A big warning should be placed on the box statin that transmitting on this device could result in a $500 fine, even if you are using it in an emergency. There needs to be a Do Not Transmit switch that is obvious and can be set to off by a click of a guarded switch."
"Receive selectivity is low, is a congested enviroment, like if you're near a cell tower or commerical radio tower, you are deaf."
BaoFeng Radio Summary
Overall great reviews of the price and build quality.
Many reviewers are surprised at how powerful it is.
Very small and compact, while maintaining functionality.
The company recently made some upgrades that increase the power and functionality.
Conflicting reviews on programming. Many reviewers state that you must carry the manual with at all times if you need to program it, while others state that programming is easy.
Reviewers are surprised that you need a license to transmit. Although you can still receive without a license.